Keeping the Sabbath
THE DELIGHTFUL SABBATH
Revision APRIL 2018
- 10 REASON TO KEEP THE SABBATH
- SCRIPTURE BARRIERS PEOPLE BRING UP
- GENERAL Q&A ON THE SABBATH
- SABBATH THROUGHOUT HISTORY AND IN THE FUTURE
- HOW TO KEEP THE SABBATH
- VERSE BY VERSE COMMENTARY: ROMANS 14 & HEBREWS 4
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (1 John 3:4-6). “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:17-19). “That servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes…” (Luke 12:47-48).
No, I am not SDA, neither am I a Jew or Messianic Jew, nor do I belong to any denomination, nor am I the Sabbath police . I do however lead a group of people to imitate Yeshua in righteousness and power to winning the lost and equipping the Saints. Of course there is lots of persecution on this topic and others over the years. Whether it is the law of God is good for you or healing available today or God is not ruling the world but the freewill He has given… regardless we will all stand before the judgement seat of God and give an account. I love Yeshua and His word – those who know me, I mean really know me, know how much I love God’s people the church and unbelievers.
Do I keep the Sabbath perfectly? Nope, neither the other laws like honour my Parents – but I do try and when I mess up, I’m thankful for Yeshua and His blood to cleanse me. Live with this gratefulness for His mercy. So let’s be honest, the laws of God are really elementary and easy with Holy Spirit’s help. As a church we have done a lousy Job in helping people love themselves by taking care of the temple – eat what God says to eat, keep the Sabbath. What I find myself checking myself more on is Yeshua’s new commandments. I have to watch my thoughts and ensure I forgive people from my heart instantly (difficult sometimes when my family is attacked, not easy to be in the minority) – this is more of a challenge but it is mandatory.
Here are my personal top 10 reasons.
- God made the Sabbath and sanctified it BEFORE sin entered – Intent was for Adam and Eve to keep it (Gen. 2:2). How much more now.
- God KEPT IT (Gen. 2:2) and He is inside me.
- Sabbath was kept BEFORE Israel arrived at Mount Sinai (Ex. 16:28-30) and don’t need the temple or priests to keep it.
- God AFFIRMED THE REASON TO KEEP IT in Exodus 20. It was one of the few actual audible words God spoke to a mass of people (Matt. 4:4). Pretty important!
- ABSTAINING FROM THE SABBATH IS SIN not that it covers sins, it is SIN. Did you know if a person didn’t tithe nothing would happen to them except they have robbed God – yes it is serious enough, but no consequences by others. If a person ate pork they were kicked out of Israel. However, if they broke the Sabbath they were stoned (Num. 15:31-33). The consequences show the level of importance.
- It is 4th of the 10 COMMANDMENTS (Exo. 20:11) which has not been done away with (Matt. 5:17-22; Eze. 11:19-21). I don’t want to be called least in the Kingdom of God (Matt. 5:17-22). Is it okay to covet which is in the 10th place? Nope (1 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 7:7).
- Yeshua KEPT IT as the Son of Man (Matt. 12:8) so did His disciples, how much more me as His disciple.
- Yeshua said we are to do GOOD on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:12). Thus He acknowledged the Day and told us what to do on the Sabbath. Yeshua told us to teach believers to observe all things that He commanded (Mat. 28:20) – this was one of them.
- Yeshua said Sabbath was MADE FOR MAN (mankind) not limiting it to only Israel (Mark 2:27-28).
In the MILLENNIUM, the Sabbath is kept (Is. 66:23).
Hypothetically, if we were in a church in Galatia, where Paul only came once every few years and we didn’t have the New Scriptures but only the Old Scriptures (per the New Testament church 2 Tim. 3:16) – what would our conclusion be? One of the biggest obstacles in understanding and living scripture is the splitting of the Bible into two AND naming them the Old and New Testament.
Old covenant has been done away with, this includes the Sabbath?
- Answer: Firstly, do you know what the Old Covenant actually is – it is not all the laws of God. It is only the law of ordinance – specifically how to get rid of sin and connect with God (Temple, Sacrifices, Feasts, Consequences - Heb. 9:1). This has been done away with in Yeshua, however the knowledge of Sin has not and will not! He enables us to keep it – in fact He raised the bar to our thought life (Matt. 5:17-24; Ezek 11:19-21)! As it is written on our heart. Fyi - The only way to get to participate in the Old Covenant (the only way if you are a non-Jew) was through circumcision thus discussed many times in the New testament, as new converts wanted to go under the law (that Law). Count how many times circumcision is mentioned in Galatians. It has nothing to do with the law of commandments (1 Cor. 7:19).
Col. 2:14-16 “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food (meat) or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths…” Sabbaths done away with?
- Quick Answer: This is referencing Festival Sabbaths based on new moons, those that were associated with Old Covenant – Temple, Sacrifices etc (Heb. 9)… fyi meat and drink should be a clear give away (“meat and drink” offerings, food is a bad translation of that word) – read. Ezekiel 45:17; John 19:31.
- Detailed Answer: In John 19:31 “…it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day).” This high day was the annual festival Sabbath, the same Sabbaths Paul is mentioning to the Colossian church. How do we know? As these are a result of covering sin so people can reconcile with God, exactly the same as Ezekiel 45:17 – “And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings (Sometimes translated as food but means meat offerings), and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the Sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.” Getting rid of sin can only be by believing in Yeshua, who also reconciles us. Therefore don’t go on sinning, as Paul repeats later, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” (Col 3:5-8).
Gal. 4:8-10 “However, in the past, when you did not know God, you were slaves to things that are not really gods at all. But now that you know God, or rather have been known by God, how can you turn back again to those powerless and bankrupt basic principles? Why do you want to become their slaves all over again? You are observing days, months, seasons, and years”.
- Quick Answer: Paul rebuked for them going back to their old ways to be purified and not to walk in Christ. This is referencing Festival Sabbaths based on new moons, those that were associated with Old Covenant – Temple, Sacrifices etc (Heb. 9). Read 1 Cor. 7:19 and understand what the commandments of God what matters means.
- Detailed Answer: These were Gentiles, not Jews, they wanted to purify themselves from their sins by their works of ordinances. This included observing certain days, months, season and also sacrifices as per chapter 3. They didn’t understand that they had been perfected in Christ alone and now because of Him they are able to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:19-21). It is not in reference to the Sabbath, the Day the Lord set aside from the foundation of the world so that man can benefit (Mark 2:27).
1 Cor. 16:2 “On the first day of the week (Sunday) let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” Act 20:7-8 “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”
- Quick Answer: They collected funds on Sunday, or the first day of the week, (after the Sabbath day) and gathered together on one of the Sabbath evenings (first of the Sabbaths evening- Friday evening) to eat together or evening on the first “day” of the week (Saturday evening). This wasn’t a law but something they did. It doesn’t change the term of the Sabbath nor the day.
Rom 14:5-6 “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.….”
- Quick Answer: This has nothing to do with the Sabbath but it refers to things not identified in scripture (‘doubtful things’ v1), specifically fasting.
- Detailed Answer: This has nothing to do with the Sabbath but if you want to choose your own day for rest that is up to you. But the Sabbath that the LORD chose is 7th Day. However Rom. 14 is specifically referring to ‘doubtful things’ v1. Fasting - There is no law on which day to fast or how long. (We are too fast). Count how many times ‘day’ and ‘eat’ is mentioned in the first 7 verses.
- 3 things you will notice: ‘one person’ means it is a ‘personal’ decision that isn’t backed up in the Old Testament scriptures “not to dispute over doubtful things” (v1). Secondly, it is a day the person chooses, not the Day the Lord had chosen like Gen. 2:2-3. Thirdly, the word “alike” isn’t in the original scripture. Without the word “alike” it means every day is separate for a specific purpose to the Lord. You will also notice that it is not saying do not observe a day to the Lord, but the opposite is true.
- The early church used to fast Wednesday and Friday (Didache Ch. 8), “But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation.” What day was preparation? Friday. What was the preparation day for? Preparation for the Sabbath. “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath” (Mark 15:42).
- Other than fasting, what are some days we can judge above another day for the Lord that is doubtful – not prescribed in scripture? Holidays, Birth of Christ, Resurrection, Sunday’s, Baptisms etc. If someone keeps these to the Lord or not, we are not to judge them. Having group fasting days were popular in the early centuries, some mandated it.
For a verse by verse commentary of Romans 14, see below.
Heb. 4:1-14, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, as I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”
- Quick Answer: Where does it say He “replaced” the Sabbath - He is also our bread but does this mean He replaced bread. It does however say we are to labour (current present tense) at entering His rest. This is separate from the Sabbath. In fact, the writer was actually calling out that people who don’t listen to God. Just like this example of ignoring the Sabbath. If anything, verse 9 affirms the Sabbath - original text.
- Detailed Answer: The writer uses the Sabbath as an Illustration of their unbelief in Christ, and just like they don't keep the Sabbath so they don't keep faith in Christ (v16). Faith without works is dead. Israel was told to be in the rest of God 24-7 and was still told to keep the Sabbath. Exod. 33:13-16: “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Yeshua is the Lord of the Sabbath, not a day He abolished, but a day He established for His people. The writer uses examples of Israelites who refused to enter God’s rest that He provided. 1) They refused to enter the Promised Land; 2) They refused to keep the Sabbath; 3) They refused to BE in His presence ongoing (Exo. 33:14).
1. What does the word Sabbath mean?
It means “to cease, rest”.
2. Is the Sabbath affirmed in the NT?
Yes, Yeshua taught that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:12).
3. Is the Sabbath Bondage?
God forbid, it is delightful to do what God told us to do (1 John 5:3).
4. Is not keeping the Sabbath sin?
Yes, sin is going against or ignoring God’s law (1 John 3:3-4). Not all sin is the same and thus the consequences are different. The weight of the sin can be measured by the consequences e.g. if someone didn’t keep the Sabbath they were killed (Num. 15:32-36).
5. If Sabbath is so important why isn’t it mentioned more times in the NT?
It is a basic expectation. Yeshua quoted the last 6 commandments not the first 4 because the first 4 are basic expectations. Just like God doesn’t have to tell us more times in the NT books not to make idols, or to have sex with animals, or marry your father/mother, or cutting oneself….these are basic expectations based on the law of God.
6. Is there anywhere where it says that the “Sabbath is done away with”?
Only two scriptures are quoted – Colossians 2 and Galatians 4. This is in reference to Sabbaths related to Festivals not the 7th Day Sabbath.
7. Was it changed to Sunday in the New Testament?
Neither God the Father, Yeshua the Messiah nor the apostles ever teach or command that the first day of the week was to be kept as the Sabbath!
• The early church (1st-2nd Century) used to keep the Sabbath, calling it the Lord’s Day (Didache Ch. 14) and the day before this day was called the Preparation, i.e. “Friday” (Didache Ch. 8). There is no record in all Scripture that God ever removed His blessing from the Sabbath per Gen. 2:3 and placed it upon another day of the week.
• In 321AD, Emperor Constantine, who was a sun worshipper, instituted the worship of the sun on this day, hence ‘sun’ day (Codex Justinianus 3.12.3, trans. Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 5th ed. (New York, 1902), 3:380, note 1.). In 364AD, it became a regulation instituted by the Catholic Church of Laodicea. The Roman Catholic Church also admits and boasts that the establishment of Sunday worship is based solely on the “ecclesiastical authority of the Roman Catholic Church.” The Sunday law was officially confirmed by the Roman Papacy. The Council of Laodicea in A.D. 364 decreed, “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ” (Strand, op. cit., citing Charles J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, 2 [Edinburgh, 1876] 316).
8. When does the Sabbath start?
Sunset to Sunset (Gen. 1:8; Neh 13:19; Lev. 23:32).
9. What day is the Sabbath in the Commandments?
Day 7 (Ex. 20:11; Gen. 2:1).
10. Is the correct day important? Did God choose the day or did He give us the right to choose the day?
Yes it is important. God said it audibly, He wrote it down in the 10 commandments and affirmed it many times. It is not a day we choose, but He chose and sanctified (Gen 2:2-3). He expects us to obey Him and not do what is right in our own eyes (Is. 56:2, 6-7; 58:13-14; Mark 2:27-28).
11. What is the Lord’s Day Rev. 1:10?
Regardless of the interpretation, it doesn’t change the Sabbath day. But to answer the question: Some say this is a Sunday (day of resurrection), others say it is the Lord’s Supper Day (Wednesday) as the only other place this Greek word “Lord’s” is in 1 Cor. 11 in reference to the Lord’s supper. The Lord’s Day is the Sabbath as the only place in scripture that the Lord Himself indicates that there is a specific day that belongs to Him, is Isaiah 58:13-14; the Disciples would have known it: “MY Holy Day” in reference to the 7th Day Sabbath not the Festival Sabbaths (Isa 58:13-14) and Yeshua affirming by saying that He is ''Lord'' of the Sabbath, i.e. Lord of that Day, Lord’s Day (Matt. 12:8).
12. How do we know the Sabbath starts with the civil Friday sunset? Is it the same as the time of Moses?
The Julian calendar was instituted in 45AD and the Gregorian calendar began in the 1500’s never changed the 7th day only the months. Here some more evidence dating back to the first centuries of the 7th Day 1) Every Jewish group celebrated Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset for centuries. This dates back to before the time of Yeshua. 2) We know from history that the Catholic Church instituted that the 1st Day of the week (Sunday) would be rest/day following the 7th Day (4th Century AD). 3) Many ancient and modern languages refer to the seventh day of the week as “Sabbath” or its equivalent. The name of Saturday in 24 languages has its very root word as Sabbath, many languages predate English.
13. Do we get blessings from God because we keep the Sabbath and what are they?
Yes, God said so (Gen. 2:3; Is 58:14).We are not to confuse being blessed with blessings - Blessed is state of position and blessings is receipt of favour.We are already blessed because of Christ, however we appropriate the blessings by the things we do.It is called obedience (1 John 5:3). Even though Yeshua is the Healer, we appropriate the healing by the action of laying on of hands or speaking life (Mark 16:18). Another is honouring parents brings long life (Eph. 6:2). Another, give and it will be given (Luke 6:38).
Similarly, just because Yeshua is our rest we must still appropriate physical rest on the day He chose for us to rest. Is. 58:14, “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord (Gratefulness); and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth (Favour), and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father (Food from the land and given specific land Gen. 35:12): for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Are we not grafted into Israel (Rom. 11:17) and now brought into the common wealth of Israel (Eph. 2:12).The Sabbath enables us to know Him as He said (Ezek. 20:20), “..hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the YHWH your God. Keep the Sabbath also keeps us away from Idolatry as He said (Ezek. 20:16), “but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols.”
Side comment “Is our father Jacob?” Oh yes, in Christ he is – Just like Abraham so is Jacob. God is the God of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob. “..that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel (Jacob) and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Yeshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:12-13).
14. Did Yeshua speak against the Sabbath?
Yeshua rebuked the Pharisees on how they kept the Sabbath but Yeshua didn’t rebuke them for keeping it (John 5:9-10, 16). Said another way, per John 5. Yeshua’s Father “works unto now” (on the Sabbath) – this is good work, helping people, giving them life, giving them rest, working to rest - this is acceptable work on the Sabbath. Yeshua healed the man (this gave him rest) and told the man to pick up his mat and walk (he wasn’t to lose his possession) – good works. The work that uses people for financial gain, for meeting one’s desires and not kingdom focus, work that stops people praising God, this is unacceptable on the Sabbath.
15. What about the Yeshua rebuking Yeshua?
They rebuked Yeshua about a lot of things because they didn’t understand the scripture. Yeshua told us to keep His commandments (John 14:15; Matt. 28:20). One of his commandments was to listen to those in Moses seat (Matt. 23:1) and to do good on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:12; Mar. 3:4; Luke 4:16; 13:14-16). Therefore acknowledged the Sabbath Day. Yeshua also did keep it according to how it was intended not as the Pharisees kept it as per their Talmud/Oral Law e.g. 1000 paces on the Sabbath, no healing on the Sabbath, etc... This is not per the scripture. Yeshua was always against Tradition and Commandments of Men when it contradicted the word of God (Matt. 15:6).
16. What about Yeshua’s disciples plucking grain on the Sabbath?
It was acceptable to pluck grain (Deut. 23:25) and there is no direct law against it on the Sabbath except in the Rabbinic law (not in the scripture). However, Yeshua still answers them and says “the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are blameless” they make sacrifices, circumcise … and are blameless. Why? Because they are doing God’s work they don’t profane it. It is not like the priests can do what they want to do on the Sabbath. Yeshua is the one with the disciples (Yeshua is leading them), they are doing Kingdom work and needing nourishment.
BEFORE SIN ENTERED THE WORLD
GOD ESTABLISHED IT FOR ALL & HE HIMSELF KEPT IT
• Gen 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” This not only for Adam and his descendants but for all mankind (Mark 2:27).
AFTER SIN ENTERED THE WORLD
ABRAHAM KEPT IT?
No proof that he did or he didn’t but the scripture does say Gen 26:5… because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." What were they? These were those that were passed down through the centuries. Did you know that Shem (Noah’s Son) was around when Abraham was alive and much of what Noah preached he passed on to his children.
TEST FOR THOSE WHO ARE HIS
• God told them to observe the Sabbath BEFORE Mount Sinai or before the Ten Commandments. He tested them to see if they would obey Him. Exo. 16:4-5 “Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily." Ex. 16:22-23 And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’” Exo 16:27-28 “Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?” But wasn’t this the first time they refused so why does He say how long do you refuse? It means they refused to keep it even before this in Egypt and now God repeats Himself and they still refuse. Like many Christians today.
GOD SPOKE AUDIBLY
• Exo 20:8-11"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
• Yeshua said, “Man (not Jewish people only) shall not live by bread alone, BUT BY EVERY WORD WHICH PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD"! (Mat. 4:4; Luke 4:4; Deut. 8:3). To keep the Sabbath was an AUDIBLE command.
• Isa 58:13-14 “If you keep your feet from trampling the Sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on MY holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable; and if you honor it by not going your own ways and seeking your own pleasure or speaking merely idle words, then you will take delight in the LORD, and he will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; and he will make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob, your father.”
• Ezek. 22:25-26 "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth the Law, for sin is the transgression of the law." Whosoever means anyone--Jew or Gentile! Don’t change what God has instituted. He alone created the seventh day and made it holy! "Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: THEY HAVE PUT NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE HOLY AND PROFANE, neither have they shown difference between the clean and unclean, and they HAVE HID THEIR EYES FROM MY SABBATHS, AND I AM PROFANED AMONG THEM". Christians are priests.
HOLY SPIRIT MANDATE IN CHRISTIANS
• Ezek 11:19-20 “I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
YESHUA KEPT THE SABBATH
• Luke 4:16 “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.”
• Mar 1:21 “Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught”.
YESHUA HONOURED THE SABBATH
• John 5:9-10, 16 “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound--think of it--for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?"
• “Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?”
• “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). 7th Day Sabbath is part of the commandments.
• “Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).
WOMEN FOLLOWED YESHUA KEPT THE SABBATH
• Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment”
EARLY CHURCH KEPT THE SABBATH
• Act 13:42-44 “So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.”
• Acts 16:13 “And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither”.
• Isa 56:1-7: “Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed (NOT CURSED) is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” Did you know that God has an Altar in Heaven, don’t dare think it is only for the Israelites (Rev. 6:9; 8:3, 5; 9:13; 11:1; 14:18; 16:7).
• The early church (1st-2nd Century) used to keep the Sabbath, calling it the Lord’s Day (Didache Ch. 14) and the day before this day was called the Preparation, i.e. “Friday” (Didache Ch. 8). “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath” (Mark 15:42).
DURING THE WORLD’S TRIBULATION PERIOD
SIGN OF BELIEVERS
• “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17).
• “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).
DURING THE MILLENNIUM REIGN
• Isa. 66:22-23 "For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me," says the LORD, "So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD.”
The objective of the Sabbath is less about what not to do but more about what to do. It is a conscious choice to set things aside in order to spend time with God. Yeshua used the Sabbath to preach, teach and extend the blessings of God to release people from sin. Hence, the Sabbath day is a day of redemption and salvation--a day of blessing! The Jews did not understand that spiritual work such as healing, helping the poor and destitute, on the Sabbath day glorifies God!
In summary it is making a conscious choice to honour the Lord on this day, call the Sabbath a delight, honorable and holy, talk about Him and His words, set people free, remove the burdens, do good, do not exploit anyone, do not focus on the fleshly desires, don’t make anyone work for exploitation or fleshly desires (Ex. 31:13-15; Lev. 23:3, 8; 20:8-11; Deut. 5:14; Jer. 17:21-26; Isa 58:13-14; Matt. 12:12).
Does the Sabbath abolish all work?
Absolutely not, Yeshua said my Father works unto now. But it is a different TYPE of work, it is “work” to rest in Him – it takes work to enter His rest. Abstaining isn’t easy. As Heb 4:11, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief”. In Yeshua’s days on earth, if a person came into someone's house they would give them water or food or help wipe their feet, in order to help them, not to exploit them. Yeshua said that they can even take their cattle to drink water and feed them. Or if they fall into a ditch, they are helped out. Notice it is to help, not to exploit, or feed their flesh like entertainment or self-promotion.
Said another way, per John 5. Yeshua’s Father works unto now – this is good work, helping people, giving them life - this is acceptable on the Sabbath. Yeshua healed the man (good – able to live life more effectively) and told the man to pick up his mat and go (good – he would hold onto his possession and not lose it). The work that uses people for financial gain, or focusing on meeting one’s desires that are not necessities, or work that leads one away from praising God, this is unacceptable on the Sabbath.
So what should we do on the Sabbath?
• Isa. 58:13. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight (not a curse or bondage), the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.
• Neh. 13:15-21 In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions. Men of Tyre dwelt there also, who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, “What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day. Now the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. Then I warned them, and said to them, “Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!” From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should go and guard the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy!
• Jer. 17:21-23 Thus says the Lord: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction.
• Exo. 16:23 And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
• Exo. 35:2-3 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.
• Exo. 23:12-13 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed. And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
This is a side note – in the book of Jubilee (not canonized part of the Bible but was a book that predated dead sea scrolls), this has interesting similarities: in Chapter 50, “And behold the commandment regarding the Sabbaths -I have written (them) down for thee- and all the judgments of its laws. Six days shalt thou labour, but on the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it ye shall do no manner of work, ye and your sons, and your men- servants and your maid-servants, and all your cattle and the sojourner also who is with you. And the man that does any work on it shall die: whoever desecrates that day, whoever lies with (his) wife, or whoever says he will do something on it that he will set out on a journey thereon in regard to any buying or selling: and whoever draws water thereon which he had not prepared for himself on the sixth day, and whoever takes up any burden to carry it out of his tent or out of his house shall die. Ye shall do no work whatever on the Sabbath day save what ye have prepared for yourselves on the sixth day, so as to eat, and drink, and rest, and keep Sabbath from all work on that day, and to bless the Lord your God, who has given you a day of festival and a holy day: and a day of the holy kingdom for all Israel is this day among their days for ever. For great is the honour which the Lord has given to Israel that they should eat and drink and be satisfied on this festival day, and rest thereon from all labour which belongs to the labour of the children of men save burning frankincense and bringing oblations and sacrifices before the Lord for days and for Sabbaths. This work alone shall be done on the Sabbath-days in the sanctuary of the Lord your God; that they may atone for Israel with sacrifice continually from day to day for a memorial well-pleasing before the Lord, and that He may receive them always from day to day according as thou hast been commanded. And every man who does any work thereon, or goes a journey, or tills (his) farm, whether in his house or any other place, and whoever lights a fire, or rides on any beast, or travels by ship on the sea, and whoever strikes or kills anything, or slaughters a beast or a bird, or whoever catches an animal or a bird or a fish, or whoever fasts or makes war on the Sabbaths: The man who does any of these things on the Sabbath shall die, so that the children of Israel shall observe the Sabbaths according to the commandments regarding the Sabbaths of the land, as it is written in the tablets, which He gave into my hands that I should write out for thee the laws of the seasons, and the seasons according to the division of their days. (fyi – fasting on the Sabbath if it is more than one day fast like Yeshua, Moses, Daniel who fasted over the Sabbath. Afflicting soul in Leviticus 16:29-31 is in reference to humbling self, some have made this to mean fasting)
Some questions about the Sabbath
Can I switch on the lights on in the home because: 1) it is making someone work at the power plant and 2) it is making a fire on the day?
1) You are not directly making someone work, most power to the house is automated without someone directly working on getting the power to your house.
2) You are not “making” a fire. Making a fire requires work – kindling, trying to get a spark, collecting sticks, having a focus on getting the fire going.
Can we go out to eat, people are working anyway?
No, by going out to eat, you are directly making them work for you (Neh 10:31).
What happens if I need to work?
Know that God is your provider (Ex. 34:21), just OBEY Him and work ways to keep it. Obedience requires faith. The gentiles all seek such things, but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you (Matt. 6:33). If you have to for whatever reason, then probably best to do it for free (love gift) or give your money that you made that day to the poor (keep none of it for yourself).
What if I am a doctor/nurse and someone gets hurt?
Are you saving a life or destroying it? You are helping people, money gained on this day for your service is best to give away or even better do it for free.
Romans 14 verse by verse commentary – You will notice nothing mentioned about Sabbath, nothing about the Lord’s Day but everything about “doubtful things.”
ROMANS 14 verse by verse commentary – You will notice that nothing is said about the Sabbath, nothing about the Lord’s Day, but everything about “doubtful things”! Things not called out specifically in the scripture. Paul is writing to those who know the law of God (Rom. 7:1).
(Rom 14:1) Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. Paul told Timothy that all scripture (OT) was used for correction, reproof (2 Tim 3:16). But if it is not in there how can they judge? Therefore do not dispute over doubtful things, like which day or how many days to fast or IF the food in the market place has been sacrificed to idols and you don’t know about it.
(Rom 14:2) For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
(Rom 14:3) Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
(Rom 14:4) Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. Notice he is comparing meat to vegetables as people typically sacrificed meat to idols vs. vegetables and sold it in the market place. So they don’t know if all the meat was sacrificed or some. "They are unsure" (doubtful things) so they ate only vegetables. If they knew, then they shouldn’t eat it (Rev 2:20; Acts 15:29). Now that they were unsure if the meat was sacrificed to idols, then they can eat it based on 2 conditions (1 Tim 4:3-5): The WORD OF GOD (Lev 11 – God clearly says what meat can be eaten e.g. lamb, beef not pork or shell fish etc. Also not certain it is offered to idols) and PRAYER (1 Tim 4:5 – blessing, thanksgiving). But if the person wants to fast meat but only eats vegetables.
(Rom 14:5) One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
(Rom 14:6) He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
(Rom 14:7) For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
(Rom 14:8) For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
(Rom 14:9) For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Paul continues talking about doubtful things like abstaining from food and choosing a day to do that – fasting. The day “a person” esteems more than the other like fasting, not a day God esteemed above another like the Sabbath. If it is a day we esteem – it is between God and us.
Also please note, we are either to esteem one day or all days. But not all days are to be alike. “Alike” is not on the original. I esteem the Sabbath because He esteemed it, I esteem Monday as a fast day, Wednesday as a Bible Study day, etc. They are set aside for a specific Kingdom purpose.
(Rom 14:10) But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
(Rom 14:11) For it is written: "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD."
(Rom 14:12) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. This seems like a contradiction with 1 Cor. 6:2 where Paul says "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge?" (1 Cor. 6:2-4). Paul is saying do not judge over doubtful things (not in the scripture 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 6:2-4; 2 Tim. 3:16) but judge with righteous judgment (things not doubtful). And when you do measure yourself before you judge another, for the same measure you use it will be measured back to you (e.g. Rom. 2:12; Matt. 7:1-2; 1 Cor. 11:31). As we are all going to give an account. This is something we are to remember and will help keep us.
(Rom 14:13) Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way. Do not judge another over “doubtful things” and thereby putting a stumbling block or cause for our brother to fall. They may be offended because of this doubtful judgement which is based on nothing! And this offense is worse than the actual deed they might have done which you will be accountable for!
(Rom 14:14) I know and am convinced by the Lord Yeshua that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
(Rom 14:15) But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
(Rom 14:16) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; Is Paul really saying “nothing” is unclean and thereby contradicting the early Church Acts 15:29 and what Yeshua said to the Church (Rev. 2:14,20)? Or is Paul saying there is nothing that is unclean of ITSELF - by the original design made by God, for an intended purpose nothing is unclean. For example, by the Lord Yeshua we would not be eating blood, eating an animal that was strangled, eating anything offered to idols knowingly (Acts 15:29). However when it is doubtful (not sure if it was sacrificed to idols) then don’t grieve our brother by judging him for eating it, or if he is offended don’t eat it so that he doesn’t judge all your good work as evil.
(Rom 14:17) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
(Rom 14:18) For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
(Rom 14:19) Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Kingdom of God is spiritual so it is obviously not eating and drinking! He is not saying you can eat everything you want thereby negating what the Church Leaders & Yeshua’s words “do not eat things offered to idols” (Acts 15:29; Rev. 2:14,20). He is saying focus on righteous living, peace and joy IN AND ONLY IN THE Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit will help you, and help all things will fall into place. Don’t put the cart before the horse. We will pursue love and peace and building one another up. Sometimes love and edifying includes expelling a person like Paul did in 1 Cor. 5:1-5. Because the focus is the saving of the soul.
(Rom 14:20) Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
(Rom 14:21) It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
(Rom 14:22) Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
(Rom 14:23) But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. Paul summarizes doubtful things: If you don’t know if it is sacrificed to idols and it meets God’s standards for food then eat it, thanking Him and don’t just another. If someone will be offended by you, then don’t eat it or drink it. For example; some people believe that no one should drink wine and some people believe they can. This is doubtful, there isn’t a scripture forbidding to drink wine but the opposite in certain situations is given. Yeshua made water into wine, He drank wine, the Lord’s supper had wine, Communion is wine, Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake. But if someone shouldn’t drink wine because it can make them stumble – previously an alcoholic, - then don’t drink it in front of them or put it around them and thereby making them stumble. This is not love. Also don’t tell someone not to drink wine when the law of God doesn’t forbid it. This concludes Paul’s message on doubtful things and how to judge within it.
Verse by verse commentary – You will see that no-where in the scripture does the writer removes the Sabbath or indicate it is replaced by Yeshua. You will also notice that the Israelites had every day to be in His rest (just like we are in Yeshua) and they were still told to keep the Sabbath. They refused both due to unbelief, like many refuse today. You will also notice that the writer affirms the Sabbath. He who has ears to hear, hear.
(Heb 4:1) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. Therefore fear God because you can come short of entering His rest. It isn’t a done deal. Fear results in an action. But what action is required? To believe and do what He says.
(Heb 4:2) For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. “Unto us” – In Hebrews 3, the good news was preached to the Israelites. What good news? The Good News of the reconciliation between man and God because of the Messiah.
(Heb 4:3) For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. “Those who believed” is past tense and "do enter" is a present tense. They would enter into rest after they believe. Those Israelites who did not believe, didn’t enter His rest. Like Faith without works is dead so works without faith dead. Faith is the starting point and the works will result from this.
(Heb 4:4) For he spake in a certain of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
(Heb 4:5) And in this again, If they shall enter into my rest.
(Heb 4:6) Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: This is in context with the Sabbath, entering it and their refusal.
God spoke of the 7th Day (Sabbath) for people to rest in, He sanctified it and blessed it. He also gave the example by resting in it Himself (Gen. 2:1-2) and in this again, they shall enter into my rest. But they didn’t! They refused!
When He shared this with the Israelites after Egypt (Heb 3; Exo 16; Lev 26:35) – they didn’t obey! Because of disobedience/ unbelief/ rebellion against God they rejected His Word on the Sabbath and did not enter his rest. Also some Christians don’t enter because of their unbelief.
(Heb 4:7) Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. He gives another specific day for them to rest in, the Israelites are not entering into His rest, "Today" meaning "now" (Ps. 95:7). Hear, Believe and Obey, THIS result is entering into His rest.
(Heb 4:8) For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. Joshua said that once they take possession as the Lord promised them THEN they will have rest (Josh 1:15; 22:4). After they fought Yahweh gave them rest (Josh. 23:1). After obedience comes rest.
(Heb 4:9) There remaineth therefore rest to the people of God. Some versions have the word “rest” but the accurate translation from the Greek is “Keeping of Sabbath”. The word remains mean it was always there and still in existence - remains. He sums up saying: Therefore there remains Keeping of Sabbath for the people of God.
(Heb 4:10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Those who enter into His rest by obeying the day He provides cease from work just like God did from His (Gen. 2:2).
(Heb 4:11) Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. Therefore let us LABOUR (work) to enter into the rest. It is difficult to rest on the Sabbath – the opposition is high. So work at entering in. If you don't work at entering in - same example of unbelief as given in the previous verses.
(Heb 4:12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Word of God that we hear and obey delivers results and reveals the heart of disobedience or obedience.
(Heb 4:13) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. All things are transparent before him as the word of God penetrates every area of life. He knows if we are working to enter the rest He provided or not.
(Heb 4:14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Yeshua the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Let us hold onto what our High Priest, Yeshua Christ did and said, He is our example e.g. Matt. 23:1-3; Matt. 5:17+; 7:21-25. He didn’t discount the Sabbath but kept it like it is supposed to have been kept. Doing good on the Sabbath and setting people free on the Sabbath is GOOD. Sabbath was made for mankind – to benefit mankind (Mark 2:27).
(Heb 4:15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
(Heb 4:16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. For Yeshua also knows our weakness because He too experienced them and is the perfect example to follow and the One we run to for help in our weaknesses.